Val Adams' cautious money approach

Last updated 05:00 16/02/2014
Valerie Adams

HOME SWEET HOME: Valerie Adams’ property purchase is her financial safety blanket.

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Olympic gold medal shot putter Val Adams credits her modest upbringing for her thriftiness.

Over the past 10 years Val Adams has acquired an enviable haul of precious metals.

She has won two Olympic gold medals, four world titles, two Commonwealth Games gold medals - and a swag of lesser medals mostly in silver - and been named New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year a whopping seven times.

New Zealand's Olympic Committee says her career has been one of almost unbroken success since her first world titles which she claimed as a youthful 17-year-old.

But has the shot putter been as successful at managing her finances as she has her career?

Adams approaches her finances with a conservative mindset she credits to her modest upbringing where she was one of 18 siblings in her extended family.

But New Zealand's premier athlete says her childhood cemented a belief that she should always look to the future - as an athlete you never know when your golden run can end.

Along with her winnings - each world championship reportedly earns the athlete US$30,000 (NZ$36,000) with world records earning an additional US$100,000 - Adams also has valuable sponsorships including with Toyota who provided the star athlete with a truck valued at around $80,000.

How financially savvy are you?

I'm very good with money, and very careful. I don't spend my money on rubbish and I save.

It's something I've learnt growing up with next to nothing.

Everything I have now I really appreciate, and I have had to work really hard to get. I am quite lucky now that I have a nice lifestyle.

What do you invest in?

My house is probably my biggest investment, and my only investment. I bought it in 2010 in east Auckland.

What was your first paid work?

I was a waitress at Pizza Hut earning $5 an hour when I was 15 years old.

What has been your worst investment?

My ex-husband. It was pretty expensive and not really an investment!

What is your attitude to money?

It's pretty low-key. I do some online shopping using my Visa debit card. That is how I shop because of my voluptuous body. I am not ringing up the credit card debt, I control my debt.

I am cautious, there is always tomorrow to think about. You don't know what will happen tomorrow when you are an athlete. You could get injured. It's a big risk.

Are you in KiwiSaver?

No. What I am doing now is planning for my retirement. Everything I do I put money away looking to the future.

I want to get rid of my mortgage; the house is the security blanket that I have.

Do you like to gamble? Do you buy Lotto tickets?

No, I don't gamble. I might buy the odd scratchie every now and then when I am with my nieces and nephews.

What would you tell a child is the best way to make money?

I would tell them to work hard first and foremost to get what they deserve. Plan for the future and budget.

Visa has a very good website, practicalmoney, which has lots of great information and help.

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- Sunday Star Times

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